At the end of "Schloimele" by Isaac Bashevis Singer, the titular character is described as being almost unrecognizable at the end of the story:
He wore a straw hat, a pink shirt, and a bow tie. Although I had met him two days before, I barely recognized him. This was not the Schloimele I knew but an elderly man, grey-haired, bent, with a yellow complexion, a wrinkled double chin, and sad eyes under bushy brows. For a while he stared at me in bewilderment as if he, too, could not believe what he saw. Then he started, a smile lit up his face, and in a split second he became Schloimele again.
(translated by Alma Singer and Elaine Gottlieb)
What's the significance of this scene? Why is he described as looking so different from the jolly man our narrator knows, and then a smile having him "...became Schloimele again"? What's going on here in this scene?